UPDATE 1-Australia's ANZ chief says funding markets closed

Fri May 18, 2012 12:43am EDT

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MELBOURNE, May 18 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said volatile conditions in global markets have caused the wholesale funding market for Australian banks to freeze again, a worrying echo of the global financial crisis.

Turmoil spreading from Greece's woes has hammered financial markets, with world stocks down for a fifth day and bond yields sinking to multi-month lows on Friday.

"Right now, markets are closed again, and this is what happens in this sort of situation," ANZ Chief Executive Mike Smith said after a speech to a business group.

A prolonged freeze in funding markets following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 left many banks unwilling or unable to lend, crippling the global economy.

Australian banks raise about $100 billion annually from wholesale funding markets to bridge a gap between total loans and deposits. The four major banks have completed the majority of their wholesale funding for the year.

ANZ has raised close to A$17 billion ($17 billion) of term wholesale debt this financial year, including A$8 billion of covered bonds, which represents around 87 percent of their funding needs for the 2012 financial year. ($1 = 1.0065 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger and Amy Pyett in Sydney; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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